B5533 Microfleece jacket…


Long time no see! I’ve been visiting family and  doing a lot of sewing. A couple nice keepers and one miserable failure (future posts).

Here’s a recently sewn jacket, a variation of a favorite pattern from Butterick. It’s done in ‘Taxi Yellow’ microfleece from Fabric Mart, and it kept me warm through 5 cold days in Orlando last week. Nice!

B5533 line art

I first made this pattern 4 years, with a lined hood taken from a cape pattern, B5807. It fit perfectly on the View A neckline! It was also fleece, but was a very lightweight and stable variety from JoAnns. My new jacket is mid-weight fleece and has a lot more stretch.


This time, I used View A for the front,


and View B for the back.


So far I haven’t put on the pockets, but I think I will, since I keep reaching for them. Mine have rounded corners at the bottom, pretty cute.

Something else I rounded was the point on the collar. I just didn’t want to struggle with the point and end up  with a rounded collar anyway because of the bulky fabric!


I generally avoid the angst of sewing buttonholes in fleece, so I used four snaps (size 4) for closure – with buttons sewn in place on the outside. Works great.


I just love the back detail and two-piece sleeves.


Sewing notes:

  • Size 12.
  • To break up the front a bit, I cut it with a yoke.


  • I used 3/8″ topstitching throughout.
  • There was lots of staystitching and basting during the construction! Although the fleece has no vertical stretch, it has 80% stretch across the width. Had to tame that beast…
  • The sleeves on the pattern are short – I added 1″.
  • Fusible interfacing doesn’t work on fleece, so I used sewn-in broadcloth interfacing on the collar and front facing.
  • I raised the armscye by 1/2″ at the shoulder to compensate for the stretch in the material.
  • And I flattened the sleeve head quite a bit to fit the armscye with no gathers.
  • For a little Jungle January fun, I faced the back yoke with an animal print. It also serves as a facing for the back neckline.


It’s almost 7 p.m, time for the Australian Tennis Open! Bye for now – Coco

Sewing with poly fleece


I feel a bit bad – I just posted a jacket in sherpa poly fleece without any sewing notes. But the post would have been very long. Poly fleece can be challenging!

By itself, poly fleece has no vertical stretch, but it does have generous mechanical stretch (and decent recovery) horizontally. I would not touch poly/lycra fleece!




I haven’t worked with fleece for a couple years. My last project was a coat, which I love wearing. It’s a combo of many designs and always gets nice comments.


Things I’ve learned – some basics:

  • Spend time with fabric scraps. Work out tension, stitch length, and presser foot pressure ahead of time, on both the sewing machine and the serger.
  • Staystitch any edge with even a hint of a bias cut.
  • Baste seams before stitching them. I find that the top seam allowance wants to move away from the needle otherwise.
  • A seam ripper will not save you with fleece 🙂 The stitches get really sunken in the fabric, it’s just not easy to get at them.

More tips:

  • Use a ballpoint needle. Fleece is a knit and doesn’t ravel, but a very small puncture in fleece will be a hole very quickly. I use a 90/14 ballpoint needle, big enough to pierce the fabric and grab the bobbin thread.
  • Presser foot: I decrease the pressure, from it’s normal setting of 5, to 3. This lets the fleece move smoothly under the presser foot.
  • I don’t use a walking foot, because it does not move forward nicely on fleece. I find that my 1/4″ presser foot is great. A wider foot tends to grip and compress the fabric a little too much.
  • Stitch length. I use 3.2 for seams and 3.4 for topstitching (my usual settings, for knits and cottons, are 2.6 and 2.8).
  • Fleece serges beautifully! and serged edges look very finished. But I do the seams on the sewing machine. A serged seam in fleece loses its flexibility and can be disappointing.

A bit more:

  • I find that placing pins on an angle with a seam works best and prevent the fabric from sliding out of alignment. True with many fabrics.


  • I use 1/4″ twill tape, sewn in the seam allowance of the back shoulder, to stabilize the shoulder seam. Sewn on the wrong side, it does not show in the finished shoulder.


  • Pockets get a similar treatment, so that the top of the pocket will not be stretched out by use. I sew the twill tape on the wrong side along the pocket edge that will be folded in and topstiched. This really works!



  • Clip curves as usual, but be careful not to go too far with those snips. I made pockets for my jacket, although I did not use them. Nevertheless, those rounded corners, clipped and basted, were much more friendly than they would have been without some love.


  • I’m generous with topstitching. It shows so well on fleece and can be a design element all by itself. It also works to stabilize the fabric and the lines of the garment.


Hope this is helpful!

And here’s a great site for sewing with fleece, on Craftsy, Tips for Sewing with Fleece.

Bye for now! Coco

Edited to add (thank you, Margene!): I drafted and attached a back neckline facing in cotton broadcloth, instead of turning under the back collar seam with hand-stitching. The woven fabric stabilizes that part of the neckline beautifully – I think it would have been very stretchy otherwise, since it’s cut across the grain. It just peeks out in the upper part of the last photo.


B6251 Cute jacket!


It’s perfect weather for working on jackets and coats.

This was quite a project. This pattern is intended for sweater knits, ponte, and blanket knits. The latter led me to try this in poly sherpa fleece. Interesting…

It’s a nice pattern with unexpected collar options. Views A and B have an attached collar, whereas views C and D have a ‘traditional’ shawl collar (the front extends into the collar).

B6251 line art

Just for giggles, here’s the line art from last year’s B6406 – exactly the same as views B and C on B6251. Go figure.

B6402 line art

Anyway…I did a muslin of this several years ago, view A, the jacket, in a very stable ponte from Girl Charlee.


I found that the center front ended right at my crotch (I hate that word). And that the collar turned very nicely in the ponte. I even did buttonholes!


I tried to use that info on this fleece version, and was partly successful. I added 2″ to the length and also lowered the CF curve by 1.5″. The jacket ends in a nice place in front – but the collar is just too bulky to do a natural fold.



Lemonade! Actually, I love this with the collar up! It’s so warm on the back of my neck.


It’s meant to have a 3-snap closure, but for now they’re on order from Wawak. No way am I attempting buttonholes in fleece. This jacket will live in my car, to be grabbed for that cold cold trip into the grocery. The place that will trigger my Raynoud’s syndrome if I don’t wrap up (pic is from last December, after shopping for Xmas groceries). I asked once – they keep the A/C on 70 degrees.

Raynauds Dec 2016 (2)

Moving on – the ponte coat fail, BurdaStyle 90/2010 #127. I love the design and style, but it is just too big for me, even after I re-drafted it. I think the issue is that I used 4-way stretch ponte. It just keeps growing. It’s not meant for a knit, but I just had to try it 🙂 It’s so pretty.


Parting shot: my Three Kings Day zygo cactus. Our cool weather kicks in a little late for Christmas blooms.


What next? After a rather rocky start to 2018 sewing, I’ll have to think about that a bit. Tempting me – I still have a taxi yellow fleece in my stash. Outrageous, right?!


Ciao! Coco


PJ play…


Girls just want to have fun 🙂

What could be better than warm jammies with big flowers? It’s in the 60’s today, heading down down all week. I know that doesn’t sound cold, but to someone accustomed to temps in the 80’s, it is!


As with my previous PJs (here), this set is a combo of Love Notions Sabrina Slims and a modified Wiksten tank top. The fabric is cotton/rayon/spandex jersey from Girl Charlee, and it included a small disappointment – a hole about 4″ from a selvedge edge. I was able to work around it, but it bugged me.

The challenge was avoiding a big flower on each of the girls, resolved by putting one front and center instead. No other print matching attempted!



I’m starting one more set today…


Parting shot, I love getting these notifications (fabric of course).


Wishing all a happy and joyful 2018! Coco

My Christmas dress – finally!


Christmas isn’t over yet –  I just finished my holiday dress today!

I had planned to wear it up in Orlando later this week, my Christmas visit with David and Preston. But the weather is not cooperating – it will be too cool. Instead, I’ll be in leggings and long sleeve tunics. Not a problem – there’s always Valentines Day 🙂


I fell for this cotton/lycra poplin from Fabric Mart the moment I saw it. Sewing stretch wovens is generally not something I enjoy, but the print was reason for an exception. I was careful to practice tension, presser foot pressure, needles, and stitches before I began. And I staystitched all the edges that had any bias to them.


Not wanting something too fussy, I chose an old favorite, the Serendipity Studio Diane dress (last version here).

Diane Envelope Pic

As before, I raised the neckline, but I didn’t do anything fancy aside from rotating the print on the waistband.


I love Christmas, it’s simply my favorite season. And it’s just about the only time I paint my fingernails, mostly because sewing is brutal on nail polish! But my toe nails are always red. Florida is sandal city all year…

Polish: China Glaze “The Heat is On”

So, I managed to make this dress without too many major oops, although my seam ripper got a workout from time to time. I blew out my first waistband because the button holes were in the direction of the stretch, and I made a mess of them. Rather than replace the entire waistband, I practiced a bit, chose a heavier stabilizer, and made new button holes in a 4″ long patch. After getting it into the band, it’s not at all noticeable.


On to new projects for the new year! I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season.